The Beekeeper’s Companion Since 1861

Writers’ Guidelines for the American Bee Journal

The American Bee Journal, the oldest English language beekeeping publication in the world, is a magazine for professional, sideline and hobbyist beekeepers, as well as those with interest in bee-related subjects. The ABJ is not a peer-reviewed science journal. Its general interest articles do, however, cover results of relevant scientific studies, along with a broad range of topics concerning bees and beekeeping.Writers can best familiarize themselves with the magazine by reading it.


To submit an article to the American Bee Journal, begin by sending a short proposal, preferably by e-mail, to the editor, Eugene Makovec, at: (or 51 South Second Street, Hamilton, Illinois, 62341). If you have an article already prepared, we’ll be happy to look at it.

Please do not send material that has published or is pending publication at another magazine.

The American Bee Journal purchases first North American serial rights, as well as exclusive worldwide electronic rights for sixty days and nonexclusive permanent web rights for our electronic archive.

Style protocol:

Grammar, punctuation and word usage standards for the American Bee Journal follow the Associated Press Stylebook, which is available in paperback, by online subscription, and in an iPhone application. The fallback resource for the AP Stylebook is Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fifth Edition. Use the first listed spelling if the dictionary gives more than one.

Submission format:

Electronic submissions are preferred in Microsoft Word but are also acceptable in other, editable text formats. Head the manuscript with the name and address of the author, word count and title. Standard format is 12 point, double-spaced. Use single-spacing between sentences and indent paragraphs.
References are used only for the purpose of directing the reader to further information. Use Arabic numerals to designate endnotes (not footnotes).

  • Books – author (last name first), title, publisher, city and relevant page number(s), year.
  • Articles — author, title, publication, page(s), year.
  • Conference proceedings – author, lecture title, in name of conference, page(s), year.
  • Chapters in books – chapter author, chapter title, in name of book, author or editor, publisher, city, page number(s), year.
  • Electronic material is cited like an article, with the addition of the website.


Use American measurements (Fahrenheit, feet, inches) with metric measurements following in parenthesis.


Submit photos to accompany articles in attached files.  Send at a minimum of 300 dpi, TIFFs are recommended, but JPEG are acceptable. If photos are too large to email they can be sent via Dropbox or other such method, or mailed on a CD. Do not submit photos for which permission to publish has not been obtained. We do not generally pay extra for photos within articles unless we solicit them separately.

Photos are best if numbered (Photo 1 rather than IMG_2029851 for example), preferably in the order in which they’re mentioned in the article, and with corresponding captions (including the name of the photographer) at the end of the document.

We are always in the market for good cover photos. These need to be at least 9×12” at 300 ppi. It’s best to take a look at past issues of the magazine to get an idea of whether the photo will work in our cover layout. If possible, send along the original, uncropped photo in case we need to re-crop it for our needs. A cover photo pays $100 for one-time use, though we reserve the right to use images of our magazine covers in promotional materials without further payment.


Articles: Feature articles typically begin at $150 for up to 1500 words (about two magazine pages more or less, depending on photos/illustrations). Larger articles generally pay about $100/page, though rarely over $500. Stories solicited by the editor may pay more. Other factors include the quantity and quality of supplied photos, and the degree of editing required on our end.

Language use relevant to writing about bees:

Bugs: Avoid using the word when referring to bees – although vernacular usage includes all insects and bacteria. The term bug is used in entomology to describe an insect of the order Hemiptera (bees are of the order Hymenoptera and therefore not bugs).

Hatch, emerge: Eggs hatch, adult bees emerge.

Honey bee is two words because it is a true bee. (Horse fly is a true fly, unlike dragonfly – one word.)

Hybrid: A cross between any two distinctly different populations results in a hybrid. The first cross between two strains is an F1 (1st filial generation) cross, and subsequent combinations are also hybrids (F2, F3).

Scientific names: Italicize the Latin names of species (an exception to the AP Stylebook). Capitalize the genus, but not the species or sub-species: Apis mellifera mellifera,. In subsequent mentions, use an initial for the genus and species name, A.m. mellifera.

Although in the scientific name the subspecies is lower case, the common names for subspecies of bees derived from place names are capitalized: A.m. carnica, Carnicas or Carniolans; A.m. ligustica, Italians; A.m. caucasica, Caucasians.

Use Varroa destructor for first mention and subsequently a choice between the more formal V. destructor or the vernacular varroa. (Although Varroa is the genus, and would normally be capitalized when used alone, it has come into common usage along with other genera like alligator and hippopotamus.)

Species, sub-species, strain: Species is the biological division below genus comprising organisms capable of interbreeding. Sub-species (with bees, usually synonymous with race) have defining characteristics. Within sub-species are ecotypes, biotypes or strains, usually geographically defined (e.g. within the sub-species A.m. caucasica is the Camili-Borcka Valley eco-type, biotype or strain).

Significant, in science, implies the result of a statistical test.

Common usage (also see the Punctuation Guide, in the AP Stylebook, p. 352):


  • Avoid abbreviations by writing out the full word (Virginia, first, temperature) except the month in writing a date (Jan. 1, 2010). Exceptions include common biological terms like DNA and units of measure (m, g, cm, °F, °C). Sentences should not begin with an abbreviation or an acronym.
  • Use the full name for initial mention and abbreviation subsequently (University of Illinois, U.I.).


  • Do not use capital letters to emphasize a point.
  • The seasons are not capitalized: spring, summer, fall, winter.
  • Diseases are lowercase, except where proper nouns are part of the name: chalkbrood, European foulbrood. In other cases as well, proper names are capitalized when part of a common name (e.g. Petri dish). Some proper nouns have entered common usage and are no longer capitalized (e.g. catch-22, varroa mite).
  • Capitalize specific periods (Pleistocene Epoch), but not if they are several or various (the ice age; Pleistocene ice age is just one).
  • Chemical elements are not proper nouns, so they are not capitalized. Only the first letter of the symbol is a capital letter: nitrogen (N), carbon (C), calcium (Ca).
  • Use lower case for academic departments and degrees (e.g. department of entomology) unless part of a formal title (University of Nebraska Department of Entomology). Use lower case and spell out titles (department chairman, chancellor), unless part of a name (Chairman John Beeman; subsequently Beeman).

Data is plural (e.g. The data were collected by the researchers.)

Exclamation points: Use rarely if ever in professional journalism.

Fewer, less: Fewer is used for countable nouns, less for qualities or quantities that cannot be counted: fewer bees, less honey, but fewer bottles of honey with less foam.

Hyphenation of compound adjectives: Use hyphens for clarifying compound modifiers, but not nouns (e.g.: He has a hands-off policy for cold weather. He keeps his hands off the brood nest in the winter.)

ABJ writers’ reference books:

The Associated Press Stylebook, 2018 or later.

Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fifth Edition or Later

Further reading:

The following works include discussion of non-technical science articles or general magazine writing.

Gopen, George D. and Judith A. Swan “The Science of Scientific Writing” in American Scientist, Nov-Dec 1990, Volume 78, 550-558.

Blum, Deborah, Ed, A Field Guide for Science Writers, Second Edition: The Official Guide of the National Association of Science Writers, Oxford University Press, 2005

Montgomery, Scott, Chicago Guide to Communicating Science, University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Ruberg, Michelle, Ed, Writer’s Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing, Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2004

For further questions: Contact Publishing Dept., email to: